Dolphin census begins in Chilika

Khurda: The officials of Chilika Development Authority (CDA) and Forest department began the annual enumeration of dolphins in Chilika lake today.

Besides forest officials, students of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), personnel of WWF, experts, and wildlife activists have participated in the enumeration that kicked off at 7 am today.

As many as 80 enumerators have been grouped into 11 survey teams for smooth headcount of the sea mammal. The final status of the animal count would be published after the experts prepare the final statistics.

Sources said the census is carried out using standard citing method as per which enumerators count the dolphins while they rise above the water level for breathing. The enumerators mark the dolphins’ time and appearance with the help of a pre-loaded GPS. This apart the counting is also done on the basis of line-transect method.

Over 450 dolphins were sighted in the Odisha coast, including 162 in the Chilika lake last year. The counting indicated that population of dolphins rose by 39 in the lake considered to be one of the biggest habitats for the sea mammal.

The wildlife organisation of forest department conducts the annual survey of dolphin population in entire Chilika lake as well as 480-km long Odisha coast every year in the month of January or February.